Earlier this month, alumni of MIUSA’s 10th International Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) gathered together virtually to reconnect and share their accomplishments related to bettering the lives of disabled women globally.
WILD Alumni from 37 countries, including Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, were invited to join the call.
Representing both 2021 Virtual WILD and 2022 WILD, more than 20 alumni located in various time zones joined the virtual call to share the work they have been doing since completing either Virtual WILD in October 2021 or in-person WILD in June 2022.
In breakout rooms, WILD alumni shared plans for in-country WILD trainings, workshops for women with disabilities in their communities, and connections they have made with international development organizations as a result of the Gender, Disability, and Development Institute (GDDI).
In Zimbabwe, WILD alumna Senzeni is planning a two-day workshop in February for women with disabilities in rural areas on topics related to reproductive health, gender-based violence, and vegetable gardening.
In Chennai, India, WILD alumna Punitha recently completed a two-day WILD training on women’s health and mental well-being. Partnering with other local NGOs, Punitha organized a musical “empowerment activity” led by a fellow WILD alumna during her training. An empowerment activity is something that builds a sense of solidarity and pride in being a woman with a disability. All WILD projects include at least one empowerment activity conducted within the rest of the training topics.
While the call was a chance for WILD leaders to share updates about their current work and projects, it was also an opportunity for to ask each other questions and share advice for any challenges they are facing with implementing these activities.
In one breakout room, WILD leaders discussed challenges with workshops on sexual health and shared advice on how to create a comfortable environment for participants to discuss these topics. In another breakout room, WILD leaders discussed how to include participants of diverse ages and diverse geographic regions.
Over the next few months, WILD alumni will continue implementing planned projects in their home countries. MIUSA will host another check-in call in several months for an opportunity to share and continue to strengthen the WILD alumni network.
It’s so powerful to see disabled women coming together and infusing that energy into making change in their communities!
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